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Oh… Canada? Yes, that’s right- Canada. All too often, Canada is mislabelled as the “peace-maker”, an “honest-broker”, and the nice nation north of America. Unfortunately however, this could not be further from the truth.

Like Israel, Canada was not founded on a history of love and kindness. In fact, the two countries share a similar history: Canada, too, displaced its indigenous population, killed them, and attempted to eliminate their culture and identity. Read Canada’s history, and Google “residential schools”.

In 1947, Canada was one of thirty-three countries that voted for the UN Partition Plan that led to the creation of Israel, against the will of its indigenous population. This was a seeming contradiction to the UN’s own charter, which guarantees the right of self-determination to all people, but denied this right to the Palestinians in the creation of Israel. Canada’s own celebrated Lester Pearson was instrumental in the partition plan. He was the chairman of UNSCOP, The UN Special Committee on Palestine that proposed the Partition Plan. Israel subsequently rewarded him with a medallion of honour. With the devastation resulting from Israel’s inception, Canada did not make any remarks against the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

While Israel’s continues to defy International Law, Canada has done nothing to penalize Israel for its actions. While the Canadian government uses rhetoric that champions itself as a bastion for human rights, its actions are limited to the few strategic countries that also happen to have dire human rights situations. It is also important to keep in mind that it would be hypocritical of Canada to demand Israel’s withdrawal from the occupied territories when Canada itself has established its cities on unceded territory and occupied the lands of its own indigenous population. In 1997, Canada signed a free-trade agreement with Israel, allowing the import of all Israeli products: including those made and falsely labelled from settlements in the Occupied West Bank. In 2004, under the “Liberal” leadership of Paul Martin, Canada abstained from backing a UN General Assembly resolution demanding Israel’s compliance with the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the apartheid wall.

Since the Harper government was elected, Canada’s already intimate relationship with Israel became even more extreme, to the point where Canada’s support has exceeded that of nations like the USA.
 With the election of Hamas, Canada was the first country in the world to impose sanctions on Palestine, even before Israel and the USA.  During Israel’s onslaught of Lebanon, Harper claimed that the war resulting in the death of over 1100 Lebanese was a “measured response”. Harper also blocked ceasefire resolutions, including those supported by the US.  Canada abstained from a “resolution on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination”, claiming that the abstention was due to the fact that the resolution did not address “both parties”. (What does Israel have to do with the fact that Palestinians have the right to selfdetermination?)  During Operation Cast Lead, which resulted in the death of 1400 Palestinians and 9 Israelis, Canada was the only country to vote against the UN Human Rights Council resolution condemning the attacks and calling for a ceasefire.  Harper remained silent on Israel’s war-crimes, but designated spokesperson Peter Kent only blamed Hamas, claiming that “great responsibility rest[ed] with Hamas overall”  Canada contracted a fleet of Israeli drones for use in their military operations in Afghanistan, showing increased military cooperation  George Galloway, British MP, was banned entry into Canada on claims that he was a “security threat” because of his political views on Palestine  Formation of CPCCA (see next page for details)  Jason Kenney cuts funding to organizations CAF and KAIROS on allegations they support the BDS campaign and for their anti-apartheid sentiment.  Canada cut its funding of UNRWA, the UN Relief and Works Agency that operates in Palestine, providing basic services to Palestinians. Canada provided roughly 11% of UNRWA’s budget, and said that it would be reallocating the funds to the PA “justice” system, which polices Palestinians.  For the first time, Canada voted against all six UN resolutions regarding Palestine, alongside Israel, the US, and a handful of other countries. In the past, while Canada has always been an ally of Israel, it has voted along with the international community at the UN General Assembly, or has abstained from voting. The resolutions it voted against included ones such as “the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people”, a “peaceful settlement on the Question of Palestine” and discussed things like illegal Israeli settlements, the occupation of East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, and the right to Palestinian self-determination. Canada also did not support the PLO bid for a Palestinian state, claiming all of the above was one-sided.

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In a disturbing move in February 2009, a coalition of parliament members came together to form a committee known as the CPCCA, The Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat AntiSemitism. The findings of the panel deem that criticism of Israel is a “manifestation” of anti-Semitism, and that such criticism is antiSemitic if it is not “similar to that levelled against any other country”. This argument for the “new” anti-Semitism specifically attempts to delegitimize criticism of Israel. This definition of the CPCCA is particularly eerie due to the fact that it does not allow for criticism of Israel as an apartheid state: something which it is. Categorizing “Israeli apartheid” as anti-Semitic will allow Israel to continue its apartheid policies, facing no scrutiny or accountability. Furthermore, to equate Israel’s actions as those of the Jewish people is problematic and anti-Semitic. Israel acts in an inhumane and unjust way, to equate the Jewish people with them would be anti-Semitic. The CPCCA fails to make this distinction, and instead, labels criticism of Israel as a manifestation of hate against Jews, even though many Jews themselves are part of the anti-apartheid movement. Furthermore, the committee consists of several members of parliament and individuals who play a key role in Canada’s government. This includes people like Jason Kenney, current Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism and Irwin Cotler, MP and former Minister of Justice.

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